Saturday, December 27, 2008

Unusual Suspects

Unusual Suspects
Edited by: Dana Stabenow
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Ace Trade
Language: English
December 2008, $14.00
Genre: Anthology/Urban Fantasy/Fantasy

This follow-up to Powers of Detection showcases bestselling and award-winning names from Simon Green to Laurie King to Sharon Shinn—with original stories featuring otherworldly investigators trailing uncanny criminals across fantastical realms. From video game characters seeking civil rights and a cave dragon loan shark pondering an investment, to Santa Claus’s Australian vacation and an enemy of Sam Spade’s out for revenge—plus visits to the Nightside and Sookie Stackhouse’s hometown— these stories will take readers around the world on a magical mystery tour.


I liked the first anthology, Powers of Detection, so I had this on my little wishlist for some time. Plus, any chance to get a new Nightside story and I am a happy camper. It’s not strictly Urban Fantasy fare and two of the stories I really enjoyed were set in more traditional fantasy worlds. I did enjoy some of the offerings this time around, but I think as a whole I enjoyed the first a bit better. However, there are a couple of authors I am going to look up after this one.

“Lucky” by Charlaine Harris: Sookie Stackhouse and Amelia offer to help a local insurance agent. A nice little short for any fans of the series.

”Bogieman” by Carole Nelson Douglas: Delilah Street investigates the murder of none other than the Sam Spade. It was my first taste of Delilah Street and while I was a bit lost at first, I found myself intrigued at the end. Any author who can use pop culture icons in a new way makes me, if anything, curious. So I added her to my little TBR pile.

”Looks Are Deceiving” by Michael A Stackpole: The Iron Duke has been poisoned and despite his dislike Primin must investigate. As the title suggests not everything is what it appears to be. Fun little read and one I enjoyed considering I am not a big traditional fantasy fan. However, for a short story there was too much name dropping for a world I didn’t know and character histories that I knew nothing of. But the characters were likable.

“The House of Seven Spirits” by Sharon Shinn: A recently separated woman moves into a haunted house, but not all of her new roommates are that bad. This one made me smile and is one of the best of the stories. There’s mystery, humor and in the end kind of made me feel as if I should leave the TV going, just in case I have some roomies of my own.

“Glamour” by Mike Doogan: When his daughter goes missing, a peasant named Alf works with a stranger to try and find her. Very tongue in cheek and a nice little parody of the traveling salesman shtick. Cute.

“Spellbound” by Donna Andrews: A wizard conference presents not only a witch’s seduction spells for a wizard’s apprentice, but a murder as well. I like Gwynn, but I wanted more out of it.

“The Duh Vice” by Michael Armstrong: In a distant future, resources are restricted and one man is there to enforce those who try to buck the system. But he gets more than he bargained for when he stumbles on one offender. Flat, and slow paced the only thing I liked about this was I wanted my own little warming hut in this below zero weather we have been having.

“Weight of the World” by John Straley: After Christmas Eve is completed, Santa and the crew head off for a holiday, but the rest is far from over when one of the elves is murdered. Someone’s been naughty. The story was okay. Didn’t really fit with everything else and yet because I just read it before Christmas it was fine.

”Illumination” by Laura Anne Gilman: Bonnie knows her father is in trouble, especially when loan shark dragons may be involved. One of my favorites of the anthology, this is set in the Retriever universe and magic is current. I have been meaning to read Gilman’s Retriever series for some time and they all still sit in my TBR pile. This makes me want to pick them up next. I loved Bonnie and from what I hear there is a book featuring her, so double yeah.

“The House” by Laurie R. King: Brad and his friends choose the old abandoned house for their history project, but none of them expects what happens once inside. For some reason I had visions of Doctor Who’s Blink while reading this except without the creepy weeping angels. Its atmospheric and I like the voice of the story. However, the ending didn’t quite work for me. It seemed rushed and didn’t fit with the rest of it. Good story though.

“Appetite for Murder” by Simon R. Green: When a killer is on the loose in the Nightside it isn’t just John Taylor that investigates. Enter Sam Warren and Miss Fate as they try to catch a serial killer that is preying on the supernatural. Loved this one of course and if you’ve ever been curious about Miss Fate from the Nightside series this one is for you. Well done and I cannot wait to pick up the next Nightside novel.

“A Woman’s Work” by Dana Stabenow: The Sword and the Seer are sent to be judge, jury and executioner in the King’s name. When they arrive in Pylos, where women are treated as second class citizens, they hear the case of an accused murderess and the dark magic that surrounds her. The second of my faves in the traditional fantasy genre, I want to read more about Seer and Sword. I like the characters. I like the world. Please Dana, may I have some more?

A good anthology in all, especially if you liked Powers of Detection.

3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

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